Having sufficient bench depth is crucial for every kind of team. How many times have you seen a star player get injured and then the team can’t win without him? This can happen at all levels of sports and in every kind of business. If you rely too heavily on any one player, you are not in a good position to consistently win in the long run. You must intentionally give special attention to developing all of your players. It’s the only way for you to have the right talent depth on your bench. All great coaches and leaders do this. There is a wonderful Old Testament passage in Exodus 18 that addresses this very point. I call it “The Jethro Principle.”
When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?… “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out-and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” (Exodus 18:14, 17-18 NLT)
Now what if the key player is you? If you get all the playing time, that certainly isn’t good for the overall strength and depth of your team. Let’s face it, others on your team may not perform at your level and do things as well as you. But here’s the basic rule of thumb for developing members of your team to be able to step into your shoes. If they can perform at about 80 percent as well as you, it would be worth investing in developing them. The best way to develop them is to give them “playing time in a real game.” In order to do this successfully, you must be secure in yourself as a leader. Insecurity will cause you to feel threatened by the idea of developing someone who could replace you. Only mature and secure leaders can do this. Let me encourage you to embrace the truth that you are incomplete as a leader. You need other people to complete and compliment you. Once you embrace this fact of leadership, you will freely pour yourself into others to make them better. When they get better, your team is stronger. You have sufficient bench depth.